The National Zoo's adorable baby giant panda cub got a really appropriate name today.

The 100-day-old female cub was dubbed "Bao Bao," which means "precious" or "treasure" in Mandarin Chinese.

Bao Bao is the second surviving panda cub to be born in the U.S. since China gave two pandas to the National Zoo as a state gift in 1972 after a visit by President Richard Nixon and his wife.

More than 123,000 votes were cast in an online contest to choose the panda's name.

The other names, Ling Hua (ling-HWA), Long Yun (long-YOON), Mulan (moo-LAHN) and Zhen Bao (jen-BAO), were contributed by Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke, the China Conservation and Research Center, the National Zoo.

The winning name Bao Bao was submitted by Friends of the National Zoo, a fundraising group for the zoo.

The naming took place during a ceremony led by Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough, Ambassador Cui Tiankai from the People's Republic of China and Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones from the U.S. Department of State, with messages from First Lady Michelle Obama and Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan.

Bao Bao has yet to be presented to the public. Her mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) has been nursing her since her birth on Aug. 23, and her official unveiling will take place in Jan. 2014.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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